Visits to Kipohtakaw Education Centre, Tsuu T'ina High School and
Swan River First Nation School garner input from students, parents, and teachers
EDMONTON, Nov. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - First Nations leaders in Alberta told the
National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education that
true partnerships between First Nations and provincial and federal
governments are key to strengthening learning and educational success
for First Nations students.
Citing momentum from the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Education signed last year between Grand Chiefs of the three Treaty organizations
in Alberta, the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada and the Alberta Education Minister, First Nations
educators highlighted their goal of working as equal partners with the
other governments and of sharing a common vision and objectives for
strong education outcomes for First Nations students.
The First Nations leaders and educators suggested the MOU provides a
framework for collaboration and change to guide the restructuring of
First Nations education in Alberta to advance many elements of a
quality education system including parental and community engagement,
Treaty and cultural awareness, and tuition and service agreements.
"The MOU on First Nation Education marked a new beginning for all First
Nations children in Alberta and we ask that the Panel support the
importance of our language and culture and maintaining our identity to
guide our children to success," said Ms. Sheena Jackson, Education
Director of Treaty Seven First Nations.
"The proposed development of the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre will focus on First Nations education in Alberta and benefit all the
First Nations in all three Treaty Territories that are in Alberta,"
said Mr. Dale Awasis, Education Director of Treaty Eight First
"Other priority areas for progress are the need for better data
collection and management and new indigenous curriculum and resource
development. Funding levels that put our children on equal footing
with their peers in the public school system are also important," he
"During visits to Tsuu T'ina Jr/Sr High School, the Kipohtakaw Education
Centre and Swan River First Nation School, the Panel listened to ideas
from students, parents, teachers, administrators and elders on how to
improve schools and educational experiences. Here, the link between
living in poverty and poor education outcomes, adequate resourcing for
transportation and the importance of elder involvement in schools and
secondary support organizations were among the subjects discussed.
At its day-long Roundtable in Edmonton, the Panel listened to input from
experts on a range of topics, including how to make quality education
more accessible to First Nations students and their families; what a
First Nations education system should look like; and what is required
to achieve effective management and delivery of First Nations
"A quality education is the foundation upon which the future success of
our children, communities and nation depends," said Panel Chair, Scott
Haldane. "One of the Panel's goals is to support and help advance the
work that First Nations in Alberta, and right across this country, are
doing in collaboration with their federal and provincial partners.
More than half of First Nations peoples are under age 25 and 350,000 are
under 14. Fewer than half of First Nations students attending schools
on- and off-reserve graduate from high school, compared to more than 80
per cent of other Canadian youth. Non-Aboriginal students are over 10
times more likely to obtain a university degree than on-reserve
students. Employment levels for First Nations students who graduate
university are virtually identical to other Canadians.
The Panel, a joint initiative of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada (AANDC) and the Assembly of First Nations, will
deliver its recommendations to the federal minister and National Chief
by year end.
For more information and to have your say in the development of
recommendations to improve First Nation elementary and secondary
education, please visit: www.firstnationeducation.ca. Follow the Panel's activities on Twitter at Panel_Education.
SOURCE National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education
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